Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Treatment in Metro Atlanta

Overview of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of inherited disorders that affect connective tissues, which provide support to the skin, bones, blood vessels, and other organs and tissues. EDS is characterized by hypermobility of the joints, hyperelasticity of the skin, and a tendency to bruise easily. There are several types of EDS, each varying in severity and specific symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia (ARG) are essential for managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

Symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

  • Joint Hypermobility:
    • Loose, flexible joints that can move beyond the normal range of motion.
    • Frequent joint dislocations and subluxations.
    • Joint pain and early-onset arthritis.
  • Skin Hyperelasticity:
    • Stretchy, velvety skin that is prone to bruising.
    • Slow healing of wounds and scars that may appear thin or widened.
  • Fragile Tissues:
    • Easy bruising and bleeding.
    • Fragile blood vessels, leading to increased risk of rupture.
    • Gum bleeding and dental issues.
  • Other Symptoms:
    • Chronic pain and fatigue.
    • Gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
    • Cardiovascular problems, such as mitral valve prolapse and aortic dissection.
    • Prolapse of internal organs, such as the bladder and rectum.

Types of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

  • Hypermobile EDS (hEDS): The most common type, primarily affecting the joints and skin.
  • Classical EDS (cEDS): Characterized by skin hyperelasticity, easy bruising, and joint hypermobility.
  • Vascular EDS (vEDS): The most severe type, affecting the blood vessels and internal organs, leading to a higher risk of rupture.
  • Kyphoscoliotic EDS (kEDS): Characterized by severe curvature of the spine (kyphoscoliosis), muscle weakness, and fragile tissues.
  • Other Types: There are several other rare forms of EDS, each with its own set of symptoms and complications.

Diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Conducted by a rheumatologist at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia to assess symptoms and check for characteristic signs of EDS.
  • Genetic Testing: To identify mutations in specific genes associated with different types of EDS.
  • Skin Biopsy: In some cases, a small sample of skin is taken to examine the collagen structure.
  • Imaging Tests:
    • X-rays: To assess joint damage and skeletal abnormalities.
    • MRI or CT Scan: To visualize internal organs and detect any complications.

Treatment Options for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

  • Medications:
    • Pain Relievers: To manage chronic pain, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
    • Blood Pressure Medications: To reduce stress on fragile blood vessels in vascular EDS.
  • Therapies:
    • Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen muscles and stabilize joints.
    • Occupational Therapy: Techniques to perform daily activities safely and efficiently.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Joint Protection: Avoiding activities that stress the joints and using supportive braces if needed.
    • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet to support overall health.
    • Regular Exercise: Engaging in low-impact exercises to maintain strength and flexibility.
    • Skin Care: Taking precautions to protect the skin from injury and manage wound healing.

Living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

  • Symptom Management: Using medications, therapies, and lifestyle changes to manage symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Keeping up with appointments to monitor disease progression and treatment efficacy.
  • Support Systems: Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups to manage the emotional impact of living with a chronic disease.
  • Education: Learning about the condition and staying informed about new treatments and management strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions | Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

What causes Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
EDS is caused by genetic mutations that affect the structure and function of collagen, a key component of connective tissue.

Is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome hereditary?
Yes, EDS is an inherited disorder, typically passed down in an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive pattern.

Can Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome be cured?
There is no cure for EDS, but its symptoms can be managed effectively with a combination of treatments.

How is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome diagnosed?
Diagnosis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, genetic testing, and imaging tests.

What lifestyle changes can help manage Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, joint protection, and skin care can all help manage symptoms and improve overall health.

How can Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia help with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
At Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia, we offer comprehensive care for EDS, including diagnostic tests, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing management to improve quality of life and reduce complications.

Contact Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia

For comprehensive care for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, schedule an appointment with Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia. Call us at 404-255-5956 or use our online contact form. We proudly serve patients in the metro Atlanta area and beyond, providing expert care and personalized treatment plans.

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